Though Holland is a little country, and has had to fight for her existence against mightier nations and her enemy the sea, yet she is the mother of many of the greatest people the world has known in every branch of art and knowledge. You have seen that she had fine men as leaders of her forces on sea and land. Of Dutchmen celebrated in literature, there was Erasmus, Grotius and Boerhaave were other great writers.
Thomas a Kempis, the inspired young monk who wrote the "Imitation of Christ" was a Dutchman. Father Cats, who wrote during the latter part of the 16th century and the early part of the 17th, was a Dutch author who is still continually mentioned and quoted. He is principally known by his proverbs, his fables, and his amusing little stories, each of which has a moral. He wrote almost entirely for the people.
Holland has given birth to far more than her fair share of painters of genius. Amongst the earliest painters are the great religious artists Memling and Van Eyck. They belong to what is known as the Flemish School. In the 16th and 17th centuries Holland owned many artists of the first rank, whose works are admired all over the world. One of them was Jan van Schorel, who died in 1538, and who painted some wonderful pictures of a procession of pilgrims who travelled from Holland to Jerusalem in the 16th century. Another was Frans Hals, who has no rival in painting, if we except Rembrandt. Frans Hals was a very jovial, overweighted man, who had plenty of money, many children, and a wife as fat and good-natured as himself. Jan Steen was another of the same kind. He painted for his amusement. And of course Rembrandt van Rhjn, born at Leyden in 1606, Holland's greatest painter.